United Campus Workers unites Tennessee's higher education staff and faculty into a strong voice to address critical issues we face. Our mission is to advance and defend the interests of all Tennessee higher education staff and faculty, as well as promoting solidarity, democracy, and advancing social and economic justice in our workplaces and in our communities.

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PRESS RELEASE: Haslam's State of the State Address Moves Full Speed Ahead to Leave Many In the Dust

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Haslam's State of the State Address Moves Full Speed Ahead to Leave Many In the Dust

 

February 12, 2015

KNOXVILLE - Monday’s State of the State address by Governor Bill Haslam touted his administration’s first term and expressed optimism for its second, but many Tennesseans have an alternative take on the state under the billionaire’s leadership. Members of United Campus Workers, Tennessee’s public higher education union, have concerns about the implications of the governor's plans for higher education and the working people of Tennessee.

Legislative Update: Hands Off Our Earned Benefits! Our Voice, March 17th!

Your voice is more important than ever. Though the Governor's State of the State Address included some funding for higher education, it also included many cuts, including to one of state employees' most long-standing, relied upon benefits: longevity pay. It is so essential to have our union. Media reports and some misleading emails have led to great concern from higher education employees that our longevity pay is also slated to be cut, and UCW has spent the last two days making phonecalls, emails, and reading line by line through the budget document to get to the bottom of this. NOTICE: BASED ON THE CURRENT BUDGET PROPOSAL, THIS ATTACK ON LONGEVITY PAY DOES NOT CURRENTLY INCLUDE HIGHER EDUCATION EMPLOYEES, at least not right now.

Regardless of whether the proposal includes higher education employees, United Campus Workers - CWA opposes all schemes to cut workers' earned benefits and grow the income gap between top paid administrators and the rest of us. And that is exactly what the governor's longevity proposal would do: steal an essential benefit, claim the cuts are "pay increases," and dole these dollars out as percentages that most benefit six-figure salaries.

PRESS STATEMENT: Campus Workers Applaud Focus on Higher Education, Say: Just Fund It

January 8, 2015

KNOXVILLE - United Campus Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 3865, Tennessee's public higher education union, welcomes President Obama and Vice President Biden's upcoming visit to East Tennessee, and applauds their support for higher education. Every year, we demonstrate to Governor Haslam and the General Assembly that higher education institutions are key economic drivers, and campus employees - from professors and adjuncts, secretaries and custodians, to researchers and counselors - are at the forefront of delivering quality education and essential services to Tennesseans.

Update: U of Memphis Admin Suspends Plan to Privatize Adjunct and Temp Worker Social Security

IB ImageIn an email at 3:58pm on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 Maria Alam, University of Memphis AVP/Chief HR Officer announced that the university was suspending its plan to remove adjuncts and temporary staff from Social Security. United Campus Workers – CWA welcomes the administration’s decision to suspend their efforts to force adjunct faculty and temporary staff into a Social Security Alternative Retirement Plan. Implementing such a plan would cause real, irreparable harm to our nation’s Social Security program and campus employees. UCW-CWA will continue in its role as watchdog in the coming weeks to help safeguard our seniors and the benefits and working conditions of campus employees.

You can read our original Press Release here. You can read the university's email announcement below.

Press Release: University of Memphis Lays off Workers 6 Days before Christmas to Dodge Social Security

Memphis, TN - On Tuesday, December 9th, the University of Memphis sent a memo to its temporary employees informing them that in lieu of Social Security coverage, they would be enrolled in a Federal Insurance Contributions (FICA) alternative plan. FICA alternative plans were created in 1990 by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill, which allowed public employers to enroll temporary, seasonal employees in them. In order to ensure employees meet this status, the university plans to fire these workers on December 19th, force them to reapply for their jobs and rehire them next year without Social Security benefits. Workers were surprised to see this cut in retirement benefits presented as a positive change.

Documents: University of Memphis Competing Teacher Training Program

Through requests under Tennessee's open records laws, United Campus Workers - CWA has received previously unpublished documents pertaining to the competing teacher training program in partnership with Relay GSE. UCW-CWA has published these documents as a service to the campus community and others who are interested in the spirit of ongoing and open discourse. The union hopes that the University will provide a full disclosure of all the details of this project, including the most recent drafts of its conceptual framework and ongoing communications with Relay, the university administration and other partners so that informed judgments on the proposed program's impact can be made.

For more information on see coverage of these issues published by the Memphis Commercial Appeal here: "U of M faculty voice fears about competing teacher training program"

Job Announcement: Membership Services Coordinator

To apply, send resumes to smith@ucw-cwa.org. All resumes must be received by December 31, 2015. Full text of job posting is available after the jump.

PRESS RELEASE: Governor Haslam Presents False Choices in Budget Hearings

Put the People First, Governor Haslam: Education and Healthcare are Both Critical to Tennessee
Last week, amidst growing speculation that he will run for President, Governor Haslam held his annual budget hearings with officials from state agencies and higher education. Throughout the week, and in an interview with Nashville Public Radio, Governor Haslam argued that our state has to choose between providing affordable healthcare or quality, public higher education to Tennesseans.